Make Art…

April 14, 2013

Make Art

Here’s a sign that makes a grand call to action. I like the way “Make Art Every Day” is followed by a little “ok?”. It’s asking you to agree to something rather ambitious.

I encountered this in front of an art supply store in The Junction. The store stands to gain if pedestrians go along with the command. The sign is mounted on an easel, reminding viewers of the paraphernalia of art making.

What do you think? Are you ready to answer this sign with a triumphant “Okay!”

Cho’s Discount Hardware

March 23, 2013

Cho's Discount Hardware

This sign looks a bit dilapidated, but that’s somehow appropriate. Wouldn’t it be strange for a discount store to have a flashy, expensive-looking sign?

Chunky, three-dimensional letters make up the word “hardware” and small, pointing hands act as bullets calling attention to the store’s offerings. Bilingualism widens the sign’s audience.

Did you notice the spelling error? It doesn’t bother me. It gives the sign an authenticity that slicker signs would have a hard time matching.


March 7, 2013


I’m a big fan of caution, danger and warning signs. Humdrum city walks become risky adventures, with fresh threats at every turn.

This caution sign is persistent. It’s in place 365 days of the year, including the hottest days of summer. Then it’s potentially invigorating to imagine snow falling from the roof.

Don’t you think this sign would benefit from an added pictogram? It would make the hazardous, snow-releasing roof all the more thrilling.

The Kingsbrae

February 20, 2013

The Kingsbrae

This Corktown restaurant appears to be out of commission, but its sign continues to announce the business name with flair.

The primary colours are high impact and the blue and white stripes have the pulsating energy of Op Art. The personality of this sign is brash and restless.

Think of this as a zombie sign, simultaneously both dead and trembling with life.


February 7, 2013

Bacon Is The Answer

Sometimes all it takes to get attention is a sense of the absurd. Here’s a sign with something grand and ridiculous to say, and an appealingly simple way of saying it.

If bacon is on your grocery list, why not patronize a butcher shop that doesn’t take itself too seriously?


January 27, 2013


Happy 2013, my dear readers! I’m back to blogging after taking a bit of a break. It’s good to be here again.

Here’s a sign whose explosive letterforms seem ready to burst from the façade. There’s more than one mood here. The “O” looks bashful, trying to hide behind the “T”, while the “C” looks aggressive and ready for trouble.

The sign’s location beneath the shop window is ideal for grabbing the attention of pedestrians. I love the way the pipes that emerge from the sidewalk are enlisted in the colour scheme. This sign’s comic book energy is infectious.


September 3, 2012


I was in Peterborough recently and noticed this banner. I’d like to say it was part of a massive project with endless versions of the word “Type”… but as far as I could tell, that wasn’t the case.

Still, I appreciate this small celebration of typography and its infinite possibilities. Perhaps it will trigger a movement and eventually the townspeople will be watching Helvetica and discussing the finer points of sans serif typefaces in local bars.

Typomania is catching, as Erik Spiekermann once warned.

FLEA Merch

August 18, 2012

FLEA Merch

I recently attended the Junction Flea for the first time. I discovered that it’s not only a great place for vintage finds, it’s also a smorgasbord of original signs.

Here’s one celebrating the event. The word “FLEA” takes slab serifs to an almost comical extreme and the curling script of “Merch” is an irresistible contrast.

The poster (available for $20) has a retro feel that’s in perfect keeping with the spirit of the event.

Amid the merchandise for sale I spotted wooden printing blocks and other letters retired from duty, all begging for new uses.

The next Junction Flea is on September 9.


August 8, 2012


Looks like there’s been a price adjustment here. I love how the yellow type calls so much attention to itself.

Over on the window to the right it says shishkabobs are $2.25. The restaurant is temporarily closed right now. Maybe they’ll revise that sign when they reopen.

I find the peculiar price endearing for some reason. And check out the eight: with its bigger loop at the top, it seems to be upside down. It’s a little twist in an already idiosyncratic sign.

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July 31, 2012


On a hot summer day, a sign with the words “air conditioning” in it is a visual oasis. Just the thought of a blast of cool air! Heavenly.

I love the cool blue logo here, but what I love even more is the phrase at the bottom, “World of Comfort Ltd”. It suggests a sense of pride in the art of facilitating the right temperature.

I wonder when this sign was made. Decades ago I suspect. It’s a fine reminder of the wonders of climate control, no?